Miss Venezuela 1998
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Ever since he was a child, Osmel Sousa, the Miss Venezuela Organization's current president, showed a special fascination for the woman's figure. In fact, he spent a great part of his playtime drawing pictures displaying always the same images: perfect and stylized dolls.

Osmel started as a commercial artist. Later, he gradually got involved in giving professional advice to some of the Miss Venezuela contestants, all of whom ended up among the finalists.

In 1976, Sousa officially assumed the direction of the Miss Venezuela Organization. Success came along immediately. That same year, Maritza Sayalero was crowned Miss Universe, starting the long list of Venezuelan winning representatives that under the guidance of this master of beauty, have stood out in several international beauty pageants. Five Miss World, four Miss Universe, among many others international titles, confirmed the genius and acuteness displayed by this doll-sketcher who is now able to create and perfect queens of flesh and blood.

Which are the basic requirements for a girl to enter the Miss Venezuela pageant?

- There are no basic requirements but they have to be pretty, of course. I prefer them to be rather tall and very charming because that is very important on stage. A girl can be very attractive but she also needs to be able to inspire something distinctive, especially on the catwalk. This is always very important when it comes to beauty pageants.

How would Osmel Sousa define woman's beauty?

- I don't think it can be defined. It is a very broad concept. There are lots of beautiful women. Good-looking girls that enter the Miss Venezuela do not need to show themselves as if they were experienced. A good contestant has to learn many things for beauty requires more than a pretty face.

After they enter the contest, how long do the girls spend training and preparing?

- We work together with all of the contestants on what we call the general preparation time for the Miss Venezuela election evening show. However, the tough part comes after when we start working with the representatives that will travel to the international pageants. We prepare them thoroughly, always taking into account their personal background. Training programs change from year to year. It all depends on each contestant's potential.

You are considered a beauty maker, a man who is able to sculpt and create beautiful women. Is there a model of perfect or ideal beauty for Osmel Sousa?

- The ideal beauty that everyone wants to hear about, that one doesn't exist. There are very attractive women but none is perfect.

Not even after all the preparation and advice rendered by the Miss Venezuela experience?

- We managed to make them look prettier than they already are, so they seem almost perfect. Those are the keywords almost perfect, never perfect.

Is it true that you start making the arrangements for next year's pageant immediately after the Miss Venezuela winner is elected?

- When the pageant edition ends we start preparing the representative that will travel to London to the Miss World pageant. Then, we begin to look for next-year's contestants at the same time as we help the representative that goes to the Miss Universe to get ready.

Would you say Osmel Sousa's way of organizing and staging a beauty pageant has set a precedent to be followed in other countries?

- I don't know. The only thing I'm sure about is that everybody is on the watch for the Miss Venezuela pageant. People want to know what will happen here on Sept. 11th, who will the winners be and what's the show going to be like. The Miss Venezuela has created great expectation at the international level.

Photos: Jesús Ochoa
Text: Ingrid Lee
Translation: Patricia Torres
Programming: Daniel Mizrahi
Alesia Dávila

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